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(6 January 2010) bidorbuy buyers and sellers helped raise over R425,000 for South African charities and non-profit organizations in 2009.
Of that, as much as R300,100 was realized in one big swoop, when the last VW Citi ever made for the general public went under the hammer on bidorbuy in November 2009. The seller, Volkswagen South Africa, choose to donate all the proceeds of the auction to Ubuntu Education Fund, an organisation that provides life-saving health and educational resources and services to more than 40,000 people in the townships of Port Elizabeth.
During the celebrities for charities drive held on bidorbuy in June last year, thirty-nine public figures auctioned off their time and raised more than R56,000 for their favourite charities. It was one of the biggest line-ups of celebrities in the history of South African internet, with personalities such as the Nobel Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, singers Steve Hofmeyr and Zolani, TV presenter Elana Afrika, actor Pieter Dirk Uys and his alter ego Evita, artist Cornelius Bosch, entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, and many more. The charities that benefited from there auctions were IkamvaYouth, Matla a Bana, South African Anxiety and Depression Group, Endangered Wildlife Trust, and several charities associated with The Trust organisation: Childline Gauteng, Sunshine Association, Topsy Foundation, UNICEF South Africa and Delta Environmental Centre.
Following the success of the celebrities’ auctions, several charities approached bidorbuy eager to explore this online fund raising channel. Bird Life auctioned off ten photographs to the tune of about R2,600, to be used to further the conservation of South African birds. Vista Nova School sold more than one hundred items, from fine wines to toys and furniture, and raised over R64,000 for learners with cerebral palsy and other disabilities in the Western Cape region.
Several charities and non-profit organisations made bidorbuy their regular source of funds. Books Etc has at any time about fifty items listed for sale on bidorbuy, mostly rare and collectible books. In the second half of 2009, Books Etc raised over R10,000 for the benefit of the Children’s Feeding Trust, which finances the feeding of about four thousand children in the Port Elizabeth region. FORA joined bidorbuy in October last year and managed to raise about R2500 that will be used to ease the plight of rescued animals.
The perception of this new fund raising channel among the charities is overly positive. “The series of celebrities for charities online auctions not only helped raise much needed funds, but it also helped profile our organisation”, says Ingrid Botha from Matla a Bana. According to Veronica Nance from Books Etc, the exposure on bidorbuy made a big difference: “We have recorded the best-ever funding amounts in September for our bookshop section thanks to bidorbuy”, she says.
“Having never executed an online auction of one of our vehicles before, we were uncertain of the process and of what to expect”, said Tarryn de Klerk, Volkswagen Brand Manager after the VW Citi auction. “What we found was that the auction process was simple and easy to manage thanks to bidorbuy’s seamless online auction system. We hoped to at least reach the retail value of the car and hand over a good sum of money to the charity. In the end, the winning bid was higher than we could ever have hoped for - over R300,000.”
The VW Citi auction confirms that buyers are actually willing to pay more when they know it is for a good cause. The highest bidder for the limited edition last VW Citi ever made, Dolf Jonker, owner of Auto Trust Body Repairers in Port Elizabeth, has no regrets for having paid nearly three times the retail price. On the contrary. “My main motive for the highest bid was to own a piece of history associated with the Volkswagen Citi as well as to support the local charity organisation, Ubuntu Education Fund. I am delighted with the outcome”, he says.
The managing director of bidorbuy, Andy Higgins, says that the site will continue to support charities in future. “We know that buyers are more willing to buy from a charity seller, even if it means paying a bit more. From our side, we regularly waive our usual selling commission, which can be up to five percent of the selling price, in all instances when the proceeds are earmarked for a charity or a non-profit organisation.”